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May 12, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

American Idol did it Sinatra’s way last week and saw its ratings plunge to their lowest level since 2002, the year the show debuted. Tuesday’s performance episode attracted 17.5 million viewers, to place third for the week. And, for the third time in the last four weeks, it was beaten out by the results installment on Wednesday, which drew 19.58 million viewers and finished in second place for the week. Meanwhile, ABC’s Dancing with the Stars reaffirmed its status as television’s most-watched show as 19.64 million tuned in. Idol was not the only top-ten show to see substantial audience declines last week. CBS’s NCIS and NCIS Los Angeles recorded season lows; CBS’s The Big Bang Theory fell out of the top ten entirely; and Fox’s House recorded its lowest numbers since 2004. Among the evening newscasts, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer continued to narrow the gap between itself and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. They are now separated by just 430,000 viewers. Indeed, on Tuesday, World News attracted more 25-54-year-old viewers than Nightly News and on Wednesday it drew more viewers overall. For the week in primetime, CBS remained well ahead among all viewers with a 6.4 rating and an 11 share; ABC placed second with a 5.2/9, edging out Fox with a 4.8/8. NBC, as usual, trailed with a 3.5/6. (In its season debut, NBC’s Friday Night Lights managed to attract just 3.9 million viewers, to place 78th for the week.)

The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:

1. Dancing with the Stars (Monday), ABC, 12.5/20; 2. American Idol (Wednesday), Fox, 11.3/18; 3. American Idol (Tuesday), Fox, 10.1/16; 4. NCIS, CBS, 9.5/15; 5. The Mentalist, CBS, 9.4/17; 6. NCIS: Los Angeles, CBS, 9.0/14; 7. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 8.7/14; 8. The Good Wife, CBS, 8.4/15; 9. Dancing with the Stars (Tuesday), ABC, 7.8/13; 10. Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, CBS, 7.7/14; 10. Criminal Minds, CBS, 7.7/12.